Before meeting them, we were fascinated by Zulu P, the group of four developmentally challenged rappers who create some wild beats. Our first meeting was filled with a range of emotions: intrigue, awe, and -- admittedly -- discomfort. The last probably stemmed from pity, but nonetheless felt typical of most people who, instead of acknowledging the difficult things in life, look away because it's easy.
But with Zulu P, it's impossible to look away.
Their music itself is loud and colorful, but the group dynamic provides a fascinating look into their personalities. Zulu P was dreamed up by Marley G, but it's T Rock's show and he makes you know it, freestyling straight into our camera without prompt. His personality at times borders on domineering, a fact often called out by Andreina, who has a beautiful voice, an uncanny sense of pitch and a personality that serves to anchor the group. This allows room for Lil' EB, the most humble member of Zulu P but the one with possibly the best flow.
The four have creative disagreements and aspirational differences. Most of them want money. One seems content creating sick beats. Another talks about bringing back old school hip-hop, tired of rap denigrating women and celebrating violence. They joke around and dance and tease each other and have egos and offend. Everything they say and do is without inhibition or fear.
In many ways, they're like most people.
Except that's not really true: Most people live their lives without passion, side-barring what they want for what's easy. For Zulu P, each has a disability causing him or her to experience life differently than most people -- but a disability doesn't make a life experience any less significant. They know what they love and wake up every day to do it. It hasn't made them rich or famous, but it has made them happy.
Of everything we learned hanging out with Zulu P, the most lasting was that any sense of pity was misplaced -- in many ways, they're more inspiring than most people.